Wallabies superstar Israel Folau has sparked a Twitter backlash by revealing he will not support the push for same-sex marriage.
Folau, a devout Christian, tweeted on Wednesday afternoon: “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.”
I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.✌❤🙏
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) September 13, 2017
It comes after numerous sporting organisations – including the Australian Rugby Union – declared their support for a ‘yes’ vote in the government’s postal survey.
He was immediately inundated with dozens of replies criticising him for his stance.
Sad to hear you state this mate. Human rights aren’t an opinion.
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) September 13, 2017
Clearly you have no idea what it’s like to be on the other side of this debate.
— Henrietta Alouetta (@HenriettaAlouet) September 13, 2017
It is fundamentally disrespectful to think you have the right to decide how others live their lives…
— Karina Hogan (@karina__hogan) September 13, 2017
I respect the belief but why would you feel the need to actively state it? Could just keep it to yourself.
— Bill (@billyography) September 13, 2017
The irony of people in the ‘No’ camp who think it’s about THEIR rights is amazing
— Rowan Edmondson (@RowanEdmondson) September 13, 2017
No love and respect involved in your opinion at all unfortunately mate.
— Luke Smith (@thebigsmithdog) September 13, 2017
— Kate Ricketts (@nannykatecoast) September 13, 2017
The 28-year-old was raised as a Mormon but is now a devout Christian after his family converted in 2011.
Folau credits his relationship with God as one of the reasons for his athletic prowess and his success in the NRL, AFL and rugby union.
His views are in stark contrast to Wallabies teammate David Pocock, who has taken the year off rugby but will be back in the Test ranks alongside Folau next year.
A passionate campaigner for a variety of social issues including homophobia and marriage equality, Pocock famously declared four years ago that he would not tie the knot with his partner Emma Palandri until gay people were legally permitted to do the same.